The 2006 Outback Carnival held in the Wilpena Region of the Flinders Ranges is always a highlight on the South Australian Orienteering Calendar. 2006 was no exception with 3 days of exceptional racing and a strong fields in all classes.
The Saturday warm-up produced tight and furious competition in all three courses as everyone warmed to the thoughts of understanding all those knolls and creeks. Saltbush OC is to be commended for excellent courses and organisation.
The “main event” for the weekend was the revisit to the 2002 national championships terrain for the SA season’s first badge event and SA Orienteer of the Year event. With the Golden-Orb Spiders out in full force, competitors not only had to keep a track of which knoll they were passing, but also had to weave sporadically through the pines to avoid the thick silk. The terrain offered the well known, but little comprehended system of dry creeks broken up by many small knolls. The terrain was fast with moderate to excellent visibility amongst the Callitris Pine. With little undergrowth this was sure to offer some very fast kilometre rates.
In the Junior Classes, Benjamin Lee put in a solid effort to take out M14A, and Rachael Sampson was uncontested in the W14A class. In the M17-20A class a tight finish between Jason Nicolson (YA) and Tristan Lee (TJ) put Jason only 13 seconds in the lead after the 10.5km race. Simon Uppill (OH) took out M21A over Timo Sild (TJ) by 4:30 minute margin after a lengthy 14.4km race. Jenny Casanova will be proud of her victory in W21A showing this terrain can favour the more consistent orienteer. A tight tussle between Steve Cooper (YA) and Paul Hoopmann (TJ) produced exciting results in M40A for the 2nd and 3rd places with a slim 30 second margin; this was no match for Robert Lewis (BK V) who took the lead by 8 minutes.
The final event to the carnival was the SA middle distance championships on Wilpena Spurs. Runnability was once again good with very little undergrowth able to pierce the loose stony ground. In the junior classes Bryn Soden (OH) and Bryn McComb (OH) duelled to result in a margin of 26 seconds which favoured McComb. In M21A Simon Uppill (OH) remained un-stoppable, taking the lead over Timo Sild (TJ) as Timo competed in his final race in Australia before returning to Estonia to prepare as a hopeful for the Estonian JWOC team. Susanne Casanova (WA) comfortably held the lead in W21A over JWOC representative Vanessa Round (TT). Another tight field in M35A as newcomer to the class Greg Morcom (TJ) finished in front of Stephen Dose (TT) and Ruhi Afnan (YA) with a 90 second margin from first to third.
This race rounded off a brilliant weekend’s racing in unique and unforgettable terrain. All reports have resulted in nothing but high praise for the organisation and the experiences of the day’s race. It seemed a pity that the Seekers were in town and the carnival was over.